Written by  :  Ingold (134)
Written on  :  May 02, 2009
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars4.67 Stars

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Summary

Infocom puts you on the wrong side of a mystery

The Good

“Suspect” is another text adventure or interactive fiction in Infocom’s line of mystery games. The player character in the game is a reporter attending a costume party. Not surprisingly, a murder takes place. However, rather than assuming the role of police detective as with previous Infocom mysteries, the player is under the gallows as the prime suspect with the task of proving their innocence.

Even though two mystery games came out of Infocom prior to the release of “Suspect”, the game still proves original and interesting. The game features an intricate mystery which combines a number of strands into an elegant story, starting with a well-executed opening sequence. As with other Infocom efforts, the “Suspect” game box included extensive documentation and other items (“feelies”) that are entertaining and helpful for playing the game.

The prose used to build the settings and characters is excellent. The game features a large cast of NPCs to fill the game’s extensive estate setting. As with other Infocom mysteries, the NPCs were made more realistic by having them move freely about the game’s rooms. The player character can also question other guests at the party to see interesting dialogue and discover the opinions of the guests.

Two NPCs in particular are worth mentioning, the detective and his assistant Sergeant Duffy. These characters investigate the scene of the crime and are meant as a parody of the player character and his assistant from Infocom’s first mystery, “Deadline”. The game derives much humor from this parody, but the detective and Sergeant Duffy also prove crucial allies in solving the game. It may be worth playing “Deadline” prior to playing “Suspect” to better appreciate this reference. If the player fails to divert suspicion away from them, they will likely find themselves having a word with the detective.

Generally the puzzles in “Suspect” are reasonable, logical and satisfying to attempt and solve. The game is still challenging, but mainly in a positive way which will encourage players to unlock its mysteries. The game’s parser facilitates this by being responsive to a good range of commands.

The Bad

As with other Infocom mysteries, the fact that the NPCs move freely about the game area means that the player can miss important game events if they are not in the right place at the right time. This means that players will likely have to restart “Suspect” multiple times in order to solve all of the puzzles, which can become arduous.

There is also one interesting but unfair puzzle in the game that is difficult because it requires the player to take certain actions near the start of the game without any clues. The player likely will not even release they did not solve this puzzle until later into the game. However, the difficulty of some parts of “Suspect” does not prevent it from being enjoyable.

The Bottom Line

“Suspect” is another text adventure or interactive fiction mystery to come out of Infocom. Unlike in previous Infocom mysteries, you are a murder suspect within the mystery rather than with the police. The game features a strong story and NPCs, which were made more realistic by the fact that they move about the game’s rooms. Among the NPCs are amusing parodies of the detective and Sergeant Duffy from “Deadline”, sent to investigate the murder.

The puzzles in “Suspect” are generally well-written, but there is one puzzle near the start of the game which is difficult because the player will have to perform certain actions without clues. The fact that the game’s NPCs are not fixed in place means that the player can miss critical game events, which means that players will likely have to restart “Suspect” in order to solve it. This can be tedious, but overall “Suspect” is still another excellent mystery from Infocom.